Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning Game Three Preview and Game Day Thread

Colorado Avalanche @ Tampa Bay Blitz: game three
Location: Amalie Arena
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
Transmission/Streaming: ABC, CBC, TVAS, SN, ESPN+
Opponent’s SBNation site: Mile High Hockey

In his morning press this morning, head coach Jon Cooper laid out the adjustments his team will need to make for those two (I’ll say it) must-win games at home against Colorado.

1. Keep it simple, run games

A big reason the Lightning fell to those early deficits in Games 1 and 2 was defensive zone turnovers versus a pressure precheck. The Lightning didn’t make any plays to get the puck out, the Avalanche caught them deep and out of position, and the result was several early goals conceded. Weathering the storms Colorado will throw at them and keeping mistakes to a minimum will be key to pushing chances off the top of the net and reducing rush chances.

2. No penalties

The Avalanche have the best power play in the playoffs, running to a goal on all three opportunities. In a streak where the Lightning don’t think they can win high score games, not giving up such freebies will be crucial. These penalties often arise when the above moves are not executed and collapse under pressure. I’ll also mention here that Lightning’s power play needs to be better than his one-goal-per-five-try pace.

3. Don’t get too comfortable

The Lightning are back at home where they have won seven games in this playoff and lost only once so far. In the last three years they have been 24-10. Cooper spoke about how home is a comfortable place for the Lightnings, where they get their own bed and home-cooked meals from their families. That, familiarity with the routine, and the home crowd will all be important factors in getting the Lightning back on their terms. At the same time, Cooper also warned against getting too comfortable as playing at home isn’t a guaranteed win, they still have to go out and take it.

If there’s a chance of a 2-1 or 3-1 win tonight, the Lightning is right back in the series and the recipe for defeating the Avalanche is in place. If the series continues to score highly, I don’t like Lightning’s chances of beating the Avalanche at the moment.

Tampa Bay Lightning potential lines

These lines will be updated closer to game time. The Lightning didn’t do line rushes in morning skating, instead focusing on special teams. These are the lines from the beginning of the last game. Coach Cooper mixed them up a little to cause offense.

Forward
Ondrej Palat – Steven Stamkos – Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel-Anthony Cirelli-Alex Killorn
Nick Paul-Ross Colton-Brayden Point
Patrick Maroon-Pierre-Edoauard Bellemare-Corey Perry

defense
Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – Zach Bogosian

goalkeeper
Andrei Vasilevsky
Brian Eliot

Colorado avalanche potential lines

Forward
Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Artturi Lehkonen – Valeri Nichushkin – Andre Burakovsky
Alex Newhook – JT Compher – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Andrew Cogliano – Darren Helm – Logan O’Connor

defense
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Jack Johnson—Josh Manson
Bowen Byram- Erik Johnson

goalkeeper
Darcy Kumper
Pavel Françouz

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